Bird Blog | September 2018
Welcome again to the Deene Park Bird Blog, I hope we are keeping you up to date with our birdlife around the Estate.
We have exciting news this month – all our hard work installing owl boxes around the Estate has paid off and we are delighted to announce that one box has a resident Little Owl !!! Let’s hope there are many more.
With very little rainfall during August the wildlife seem to cope with it quite well, the lake dropped down to 580mm at the dam wall with an increase in weed on the surface of the lake. The south end of the lake stayed clear and ducks, herons and egrets made the most of the shallows to feed and rest.
The Mute Swans are still doing a great job of bringing up their cygnets and the Crested Grebe managed to bring up one chick from three. The female is now on another nest bringing up a second brood.
At the moment the geese are are abundant and varied with a head count of 86 Canada, 134 Grey Legs, and 2 Egyptians.
BIRD FOCUS – COOT AND MOORHEN
Many of these birds are on the lake and backwaters, very often seen at this time of the year in large rafts. During the breeding season they are bitter rivals competing for their food source. The Coot is larger than the Moorhen, and often drown the Moorhen chicks and so fights break out along the margins.
COOT (Fulcia Atra Atra)
The white frontal shield and beak are a feature at any range. Coots dive constantly, jumping clear before entering the water. Plumage looks black, with improbable feet. A Coot must laboriously patter across the water before they take off to get take-off speed. They lay eggs on a floating nest and have been known to take over nests of Crested Grebes. They lay about six to twelve white eggs, their chicks are ugly looking! Fluffy with a red face and gold crown.
MOORHENS (Gallinula Chloropus Chloropus)
A member of the rail family, in flight and on the ground they have a typical profile. In flight it’s legs dangle which is a normal position, in flight they have a quick shallow wing beat. A red beak with a yellow top they look different from the Coot, repeated flicks of the tail are given when walking away. They nest near the water’s edge, on the ground in low trees or shrubs.